So far, 2012 hasn’t been a great year for anime. Sure, there’s been some enjoyable stuff, and I’ve even enjoyed some of it. But the only show so far this year I can see standing the test of time is Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, and maybe Sakamichi no Apollon. That’s why I’m hoping that this fall season really wows me. Fall often has some blockbuster shows in it; last year, for instance, the fall season gave us both Mirai Nikki and Fate/Zero. So there’s hope. But let’s see just how much hope there is by inspecting the lineup of shows scheduled! I’ll be working from moetron‘s excellent guide as well as various commercials and promo videos you can find on YouTube or your torrent provider of choice. (This blog is not in the business of linking to anime torrents.) (It will mention anime torrents, though, if mentioning anime torrents will bring in Google hits for people searching for anime torrent XXX anime girl hot Hanasaku Iroha yuri. I’ll discard my meaningless pride.) Title translations should be considered my own amateur efforts and are not to be relied upon.
Shin Sekai Yori (From the New World): So, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi setting with a psionic-powered ruling class, and a plot about uncovering the secrets of the past world. That could be fun, but there’s a lot of ways it could go wrong. Based on the promo videos, it looks like there is going to be a substantial mystical element, with the psionics being priests of a religion, and then maybe fighting demons. That’s a problem, because post-apocalyptic fantasy is not as fun as post-apocalyptic sci-fi. Or, based on the demons, there’s the danger that it could become just another monster of the week shounen thing, where they use ruined civilization as a backdrop to fight a geometrically strengthening series of critters and learn important lessons about friendship. Or the show could just wind up incomprehensible, like Fractale was. Worth a shot though, at least.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (The Monster Next Door): Ahh, it’s been too long since the last good light-hearted romantic comedy anime. (Don’t mention that awful Acchi Kocchi show.) Watching the promo video, I was getting a real Toradora vibe, or to cast my memory back even further, perhaps I was getting a Kareshi to Kanojo no Jijou vibe. Man, that was so long ago that I probably would have called it His and Her Circumstances, actually. Anyway, the hilarious hijinks of a happy-go-lucky guy in love with a cold-hearted cynical girl is precisely what I’m looking for at this point in time, and I like the character designs too. Definitely checking this one out.
Kamisama Hajimemashita (I Began Working As A God): Speaking of nostalgia, that’s some nostalgically bad animation. It should really be ashamed to show its face in the post-widescreen-revolution era. And I’m not a fan of the character designs either. Big-eyed everygirls and foxboys wearing mascara. Just from the brief explanation of the premise, with a girl who suddenly has to be the god of a shrine, it sounded like it might be an interesting fish-out-of-water comedy, but those promos confirm it as low-budget shoujo trash. Not gonna bother.
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai (Even Though I’m Chuunibyou* I Want To Fall In Love): *Chuunibyou is one of those words like tsundere that doesn’t have a compact translation. It means something along the lines of “childish delusions of having special magical powers and a life of dangerous adventure”. Anyway this is Kyoto Animation’s new show, and that means it will have high quality animation, at least. The actual contents of KyoAni shows can be a little hit-or-miss, but I am actually a big fan of chuunibyou characters in anime. The thing is, I love the bold ridiculous proclamations of passion, friendship and justice that you get in anime, but I don’t actually like the sorts of action-heavy shows in which they appear. So a chuunibyou character that thinks she’s in an action anime when she’s actually in a school life romantic comedy or a drama or whatever is the perfect fit. I’ve got a good feeling about this show.
Hayate no Gotoku I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You: I’m not sure if that’s an “I can’t take my eyes off you” meaning “I am transfixed by your appealing physical features” or if it means “I fear the horrible consequences of leaving you alone for even a second”. Anyway, I’m a fan of Hayate the Combat Butler, but there are a few things that worry me about this new installment. First, it’s an “anime original story”. I understand that the manga author was involved in writing it, but it still sounds like a sign that they aren’t putting their full force into making this the best it can be. They’re animating some dubiously-canonical side story instead of continuing the adaptation where the last season left off. Second, the character designs feel a little “off”. Nagi looks more childish than she does in the manga, and Hayate more effeminate. Yes, Nagi’s childishness and Hayate’s effeminatism are both plot points, but it seems like they’re being overexaggerated. Third, Hinagiku doesn’t appear in any of the promotional material I saw. Just Nagi, Maria, Hayate, and what looks like an anime original character (ugh). Hinagiku is the best, and if they’re just going to have mansion episodes all the time and never visit the school where all the cool characters are, it might turn out to be a pretty bad show. I’ll check it out, but I’m worried.
BTOOOM!: Sick title, at least. I dunno what’s with all the MMO anime getting made all of a sudden. Maybe we’ve finally entered the twenty-first century and all of our fantasies have become supplanted by videogames, and so the only way to write a fantasy story is to set it in a game world. I kinda got a Highschool Of The Dead vibe from the promo, it had the same aesthetic of “struggle to survive, also there’s busty girls in short skirts”. Highschool of the Dead wasn’t so great, but I might check BTOOOM! out anyway, if only so I can type BTOOOM! a few more times. BTOOOM!
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb (Sunny Spot Sketch x Honeycomb): The fourth season of Hidamari Sketch. I never finished the third season, I should get around to that at some point. Anyway, probably if you have watched three seasons of Hidamari Sketch, you will know whether you want to watch the fourth, and if you haven’t, there are other seasons of Hidamari Sketch you will watch first, so I’m not sure anything I say here is meaningful.
Busou Shinki (Armed Shinki): There don’t seem to be any promos for this, so all I have to go on is the premise blurb, which makes it sound like a cross between Chobits and a mecha series. I feel like things that are like Chobits are the sort of things I would enjoy, even if I did not actually like Chobits per se all that much. I guess I’m a little leery of the idea of giving the little robots weapons and having them fight to the death, but maybe that will just sort of be a side thing, like the weird conspiracy nonsense in Chobits that really ruined the show. Huh. Well, I guess that means there’s cause for serious concern, but I’ll still give it a look.
Zetsuen no Tempest: The Civilization Blaster (Isolated Tempest: The Civilization Blaster): It’s a little hard to tell where they’re going with this. On the surface it looks like a Darker Than Black style modern supernatural action story with conspiracies and dark brooding dudes being emo at each other. But there could be a little more to it, if they actually go into depth on the whole “making a deal with a witch for magic powers at the cost of your soul” thing. After all, Madoka Magica was pretty good, right? I might check out the first episode, but it will probably be bad. The subtitle is “The Civilization Blaster”, after all.
K: At first I thought this was a sequel to C, but I guess it’s its own thing. What that thing might be, I’m not quite sure. There were a few flashy promo videos, that made it seem like it’s going to be some sort of fantasy or supernatural action anime. There was a guy on a skateboard whose fist was glowing with magical power and he fought guys with military uniforms and swords, and that might be a little too wacky for me. It looked well done, though. They obviously put a lot of care into the animation, and the aesthetics of the character designs and backgrounds reminded me of the Persona series of RPGs. Worth checking out, if nothing else then to see what a difference seven letters later in the alphabet makes.
Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai Yo Ne (He’s My Brother, But As Long As We Have Love, That Doesn’t Matter, Right?): An adaptation of one of the incest-themed light novel series mentioned in this article. This one’s premise is better than most, because apparently it’s his twin sister who’s fallen head-over-heels in love with him. How can I turn down twincest? Yeah, I expect this to be a pretty trashy harem show, but that’s not an immediate disqualification. There was the WHO IS “IMOUTO” this summer, which was trashy and haremy but it was fun anyway. He’s your brother, but as long as it’s a lighthearted and fun anime to watch, that doesn’t matter, right?
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: I guess this is a really popular, long-running manga series that everybody knows and loves. I don’t know it. Maybe I’ll love it, now that there is an anime adaptation? I feel a little hesitant to say anything about the promos, lest I inadvertently offend someone who’s been following the series since before I was born. I’ll just sit and watch it in silence, and fill in the gap in my cultural education.
Little Busters: I’d heard good things about the visual novel on which this is based, but I guess now that there’s an anime version it saves me the trouble of playing through it. So this is an adaptation of a visual novel by Key, the same people who put out Kanon, Clannad, and Air, which had adaptations of varying quality. Man, remember when visual novel adaptations used to be big? Nowadays it’s all about light novels, especially light novels where the protagonist bones his little sister. But it used to be you would get a bunch of shows every season based on visual novels, and seeing an honest to god Key adaptation is like a blast from the past.
Sukitte Ii Na Yo (Say “I Love You”): Oh boy, a show about a gloomy girl that pushes everybody away and has no likable qualities but somehow the most cute and popular boy in school falls in love with her and opens up her heart. Ugh. The only thing worse than being pandered to is somebody else being pandered to. Then you get the guilty but you don’t even get the pleasure. I am going to steer well clear of this one.
Code:Breaker: Another supernatural action show, but this one doesn’t seem to have much in the way of redeeming features. The magic powers seem to all just be boring glowy colored fire effects (Fate/Zero has spoiled me in this regard), the premise of “oh this girl has to convince this murderer with a heart of gold that murder is wrong” is boring and maybe a little sexist, and I don’t like the character designs at all. I know if I watched it, that heterochromia character would bug the hell out of me, so I think I’ll let this one pass. Let me know if it turns out to be the next Baccano or something.
Magi: I was really excited at the prospect of an Arabian Nights anime, but if it’s about Aladdin the Magi fighting to keep the balance of the world in check, it seems like it might only be very loosely Arabian Nights themed. Still, I like a good fantasy adventure story, and I’m not familiar enough with the Arabian Nights that it’s going to bug the hell out of me that they named the tsundere Scheherazade or whatever. Apparently the manga is by the same author as Sumomomomomomo, which is a good sign, that show was cool. My only concern is that it might end up being too childish for me, if it’s a child’s fantasy adventure story instead of a cool adventure story that anyone could enjoy.
Teekyu (Tennis): There’s not much information out about this show. I guess that might be due to the fact that even the manga it’s adapted from only started running this spring? Maybe it’s a good sign that it got an anime adaptation so quickly. The studio looked at it and said “oh my kami-sama, this manga is amazing, every moment we don’t make this into an anime is another moment we aren’t selling Blu-Ray box sets to legions of adoring fans. This is the next Evangelion.” Seems like an extreme reaction to a gag anime about a girls’ tennis club, but maybe their reasoning will become clear once we start watching it.
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo (The Girl Who is The Pet of Sakura Apartments): A show about a girl who is incapable of taking care of herself, along the lines of Denpa Onna to Seishuun Otoko. Those sorts of characters are appealing to me, perhaps because I find them relatable. I wish I were a cute girl so people would help me remember to wear underpants ;_; I guess the blurb says she’s a brilliant painter, though, so that’s less along the lines of Denpa Onna and more along the lines of Honey and Clover, with the girl not being valued just because all human beings are inherently valuable, but because she actually has value. The promos for this looked good, although I really don’t like the design of the protagonist. Something about him just screams “spineless harem lead”. But I’m definitely interested in checking this one out.
Girls Und Panzer (Girls and Tanks): Well, right there in the title, it’s two of my favorite things: girls, and random German. (Tanks just barely miss the cut.) Honestly, this will probably be bad. From watching the promos the character designs seem really forgettable and the animation quality seems low. Reading the blurb it sounds like it will be just another “girl tries hard at sports with passion, friendship, and justice” type show, with the only difference being the sport is tank battles. It’s like they think that their gimmick is enough to get people to watch, and so they don’t have to expend effort on making an actually high-quality show. Unfortunately, they’re right in my case.
Psycho-Pass: The premise sounds a little weird: how hard can it be to be an “enforcement officer” in a world where you can read people’s minds on command? But it’s written by the guy who wrote both Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero, which were my #1 and #3 picks for best anime of 2011. So even though there doesn’t seem to be any promo material out, I’m going to trust that the guy knows how to write a damn anime.
Robotics;Notes: The third installment in the “semicolon” series of visual novel adaptations. Steins;Gate was amazing, while Chaos;Head looked promising but did not hold up too well. I feel like that was mostly because they were trying to cram too much into a single season, though, and they had to cut out important parts of the plot and characterization and telling me what the hell was even going on in the second half of the show. Robotics;Notes is supposed to run for two seasons, like Steins;Gate, so that bodes well. I am not a huge fan of the character designs, but Steins;Gate’s designs grew on me over time, so whatever. It is a little worrying that it’s a show about giant robots, though. There have been good shows about giant robots, but the vast majority of shows about giant robots are bad. Can we trust the Steins;Gate people to deliver? Steins;Gate was cool, but how much of that was just because time travel is cool? We’ll have to watch Robotics;Notes and find out. I’ve got a good feeling, though.
Seitokai no Ichizon Shin Anime (Kari) (The Student Council’s Discretion New Anime (Title Subject To Change)): The first season of Seitokai no Ichizon was great, there wasn’t a lot of depth to it but it was pretty damn funny. So I was excited when I heard it was finally getting a second season! Then I learned that the second season was using second-rate animation, second-rate voice actors, and was being broadcast as a “web anime”. So it won’t look like Seitokai no Ichizon, it won’t sound like Seitokai no Ichizon, and they don’t have enough faith in it to actually air it on TV. Sigh. I should start taking bets as to whether this or the new Hayate season is going to be a bigger disappointment. I mean, I’ll watch it anyway, but ugh.
So, to sum up, the shows I’m actually excited to watch are :
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai, Little Busters, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, Psycho-Pass, and Robotics;Notes.
I’ll also be checking out:
Shin Sekai Yori, Hayate no Gotoku 3, BTOOOM!, Busou Shinki, Zetsuen no Tempest, K, Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai Yo Ne, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Magi, Teekyu, Girls Und Panzer, and Seitokai no Ichizon 2.
The first episodes of these shows should start trickling in over the next couple weeks (actually I think Shin Sekai Yori’s already aired, I need to get cracking), so expect a post “threshing” the fall season in two weeks or so. I’m obviously not going to be following all eighteen of those shows, so we’ll see how things shake out based on the first episodes.